Spring Fever

Cleveland 5, Tampa Bay 0

For all of you Tampa Devil Rays fans out here, just keep telling yourself that Spring Training games don't matter. Which, technically, they don't. Then again, why is spring the do-or-die time of roster cuts?

Jake Westbrook and four Cleveland relievers allowed only two seventh-inning singles, leading the Indians to a 5-0 win Thursday night over the Devil Rays, who have now lost 13 straight games.

Andy Marte hit a three-run shot in Cleveland's five-run fifth off Seth McClung, Wyatt Toregas added an RBI double and Grady Sizemore, who came in batting just .125, singled in Cleveland's fifth run.

The D'Rays (1-14) have just one victory in March, one that came in a rain-shortened game against the Toronto Blue Jays almost two weeks ago. Tampa Bay's 13-game slide is the majors' longest in the exhibition season since lost 14 in a row in 1998.

Big boss man Stuart Sternberg was on hand to see his lousy club, who lost 101 games last season without much offseason improvement.

Westbrook pitched four scoreless innings, retiring 12 of 13 batters. Rafael Betancourt then retired six in a row before the 'Rays got their first hit, a leadoff single in the seventh by Elijah Dukes. Joel Guzman followed with a single for their only other hit.

Tampa starter Jae Seo allowed just one hit in four innings, while adding a two-seam fastball - one that has been difficult for him to master.

Minnesota 4, Baltimore 2

Ramon Ortiz struck out four and gave up two unearned runs in four innings, helping the Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2. Vying a spot in the rotation, Ortiz's spring ERA is 0.75 after giving up three hits and one walk in front of a sellout crowd of 8,122 at . With how his spring is panning out, he could be placed at second in the rotation in front of Carlos Silva and behind Johan Cytana.

Orioles starter Adam Loewen is also having a solid spring. The 6'-5" lefty, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, seems to be more than ready to pitch in the big leagues. He struck out four in four innings, walked one and gave up two hits, including a solo homer by Michael Cuddyer. Loewen has a 2.25 ERA this spring after going 6-6 with a 5.37 ERA for Baltimore when he was called up after the All-Star break last season.

Garrett Jones hit a two-run double in the eighth for Minnesota to break the tie.

Chi Cubs 9, Seattle 3

Alfonso Soriano had a triple and two singles in a 9-3 win over a Seattle Mariners split squad, all but proving he has what it takes to be the Cubs' everyday center fielder.

With Cha Seung Baek pitching, Soriano led off with a single, then took third when Jacque Jones doubled down the left-field line. After Baek struck out Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, Cliff Floyd, easing back into the game after an October surgery to remove bone spurs from his left heel, smacked one over the wall in right for his first home run of the spring.

The Mariners scored two runs against Cubs starter Ted Lilly in the second - one on an RBI single by Wladimir Balentien and the other on a throwing error by shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Ramirez hit his second homer of the spring, a two-run shot in the third inning against Baek, who pitched three innings, giving up seven hits and six runs, striking out four Cubs.

Lilly pitched 3.2 innings, giving up four hits and two runs - one earned - walking one with one strikeout.

Bryan LaHair was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk for the Mariners.

Cubs Injury Update: Kerry Wood hasn't pitched since Sunday and will miss at least a couple more days, according to Lou Piniella. He has a strain in his right triceps, an injury he suffered while overstriding on the mound during Sunday's game.

Mark Prior, also rehabbing from shoulder problems, will face minor-league hitters Friday in an intrasquad game. He has struggled through two spring starts, without the faintest idea whether he'll be ready for the Cubs' opener - which could mean no spot on the active roster.

[MLB] | [MiLB]


deborah said...

"overstriding the mound"?
dude, did lou remember to confiscate all copies of guitar hero and to yank all internet service from his starting line-up?

also, the link on my name is all i really have to say about mark prior. except for: "god he's cute."

Sooze said...

I think Piniella is playing it, too. Guitar Hero is so addictive, that neither of them can stop.

At this rate, they won't have anyone left for their rotation. Zambrano sucks as it though, so he's safe.

That Onion column was hilarious, as always.